Is this a good way to stop people from smoking?

Mainstream news channels posted on their Facebook pages a video of a cigarette dispensing machine.

It’s quite cool stuff, if you ask me. It’s productivity at work.

But apparently, there’s a reason for putting this machine in place.


According to reports, this new initiative was introduced because of the passing of the new Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act which only kicks in next year.  The new Act bans shops from displaying tobacco product.

Hence, shoppers who wish to purchase cigarettes from the NTUC FairPrice outlet at Peace Centre will now have to pay for a ticket at the cashier before scanning the issued ticket at the dispensing machine to get a cigarette pack.

Some netizens have said that the process of buying a packet of cigarette from the machine looks cumbersome. But come to think of it, I think this is quite a good way to deter customers from buying cigarettes and ultimately, smoking.

If the buying process is cumbersome, naturally smokers might just not buy a packet anymore…hopefully.


This pilot system is apparently part of FairPrice’s support of the government’s efforts in protecting the health of Singaporeans.

If you watch the video, the staff has to go to the machine to retrieve the packet of cigarettes for the customer.

Of course, it would be more productive if the customer retrieves the packet on his or her own. But, HSA does not allow this because of control measures for under-aged consumption.

So where does the productivity come in?

According to this article by TODAY, apart from securely storing up to 80 varieties of cigarettes, the machine can also track inventory automatically which eliminates the need for manual stock-taking whenever cashiers change shifts. Apparently, this saves about 30 minutes of the employees’ time.

It is innovative machines like these that help make jobs easier.

There’s only so many workers that we can hire to produce X amount of output. But if there can be machines that can be added into the equation to enhance the amount of output and make workers productive, why not?

In the long run, output is increased, profit is increased, and companies can share their gain with workers.

This is something the trade unions have been pushing for in Singapore; to improve the lives of workers by increasing wages of workers through productivity improvements.

FairPrice Xtra

Kudos to NTUC FairPrice for not only implementing productivity measures to make the jobs of their cashiers easier, but also supporting efforts to protect the health of Singaporeans by not promoting the products within.


Image Credits:, Straits Times, Straits Times.

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Arthur Lee

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